ATLANTA, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- A tough economy means a hiring pool that is older and more experienced for U.S. companies offering internships, career advisers say.
A survey by job search and research Web site CareerBuilder.com indicated 23 percent of employers seeing more experienced workers -- 10-plus years' experience and at least 50 years old -- applying for internships.
More than a quarter of employers told CareerBuilder they plan to hire interns -- regardless of age -- during the remainder of 2010 to help support workloads. Fourteen percent said they expect to hire paid interns while 7 percent said their interns would work gratis. Five percent said they would hire a mix of paid and unpaid interns.
While internships traditionally have been a way for college students to gain experience before entering the workforce, the CareerBuilder.com survey indicated mature workers now view internships as a way to re-enter the workforce, pollsters said.
"The last 18 months have reshaped internships as more than an experience-builder for college students. Now, they're also a way for experienced workers to explore new opportunities," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder.com. "Internships can act as an extended, full-time job interview and potentially lead to more opportunities for college students and for more seasoned employees."
In fact, Haefner said, 52 percent of companies surveyed said they likely would hire interns as full-time, permanent employees.
The CareerBuilder survey was conducted among more than 2,500 employers May 18-June 3.